TimberCraft Blog » Wood and Furniture
A floating Bed is essentially a low-profile bed frame that gives the illusion of floating above the ground due to its strategically placed legs. The legs are placed closer to the center of the frame, which allows for the optical floating illusion. This discreet base support system is what sets floating bed frames apart from the other bed frames.
Just like all the other bed frames, the floating bed frame also gives you adequate support for both the mattress and the sleeper. Some of the floating frames come attached to the wall for a more advanced floating appearance. You generally do not need a box spring with floating frames since they come with in-built slats for the mattresses.
The majority of the floating bed frames are made of wood since wood is more pliable and durable than other materials like metal, foam, or fabric. These frames are available in a range of prices with cheap ones to suit the budget conscious and really expensive ones which offer other added features like a headboard, overhead and under bed lights, side tables, etc.
The Good and the Bad of Floating Bed Frames
Just like any other product in the market, the floating bed frames also come with their own set of good and bad features. These are listed below:
- Floating bed frames leave the space underneath them free, which gives you added storage space
- It offers more possibilities of accessorizing the bedroom space
- The floating feature makes it easier to clean under the bed than usual bed frames
- Comes with in-built slats and hence saves you money on buying an additional box spring for the mattress
- Some frames come with below-bed platform lights and other features that add to the modern look and spruces up the bedroom decor
- These frames are only available in low profile. This makes it difficult to get in and out of bed, especially for the elderly
- The quality is directly related to the support durability of the frame. Expect the cheaper versions to give way after a few years at max
- Most of the floating bed frames are only available in certain sizes with no scope of custom sizing
- You might initially feel uncomfortable and anxious on a bed with no visible support resulting in a disturbed sleep cycle
Things to Consider When Buying Floating Bed Frame
If you already have a mattress, then you should look at your mattress size and choose a floating bed frame that fits that size. Mattresses can be an expensive purchase, and it might be an added burden to change both mattress and bed frames together. Also, most floating bed frames are only available in limited sizes; hence if your mattress is custom-designed, then you might want to consider other bed frame types.
Apart from mattress size, some mattresses are also only recommended for a particular type of bed frame. Not all mattresses are compatible with a floating bed frame. It is generally recommended to get a mattress that is not too thick to sit comfortably with a floating bed frame. You should check these requirements before making a decision.
Most mattress warranties only cover certain bed frame types. Make sure that your mattress warranty does not get void if you use it on a floating bed frame. Keep in mind that floating bed frames do not support box springs.
Vendor Shipping Policy
It is better to buy a floating bed which comes with white-glove service. It can be a very difficult task to set up a floating bed. The frame itself will be very heavy to be easily maneuvered, and setting up the base support can prove to be exhausting work. Hence check the shipping policy and only buy from vendors that are willing to set it up for you.
Warranty and Return Policy
Most bed frames, floating bed frames include come with a good 7 to 10 years of warranty. If you are not getting a good warranty period, then it will be prudent to look for other brands. Providing a warranty means that the product is reliable hence do not opt for a floating bed frame with no warranty. Additionally, most manufacturers also offer a sleep trial period. This helps you to make a better decision and not be stuck with a bed frame you do not like.
Low Profile Feature
Floating beds typically offer only 14 to 17 inches of base height. This makes the frame extremely uncomfortable for some people. The lower height means that you will give added knee and back stress while getting in and out of bed. Keep this in mind before investing in this frame.
Floating bed frames have the whole area under them, which can be used for storage purposes. However, this space is only appropriate for smaller objects with a low height. If you need to store larger objects, then you should look for a different frame.
Floating bed frames generally come with a weight constraint. They can only support a set spectrum of weight and should not be overburdened. This makes them very unsuitable for kids prone to jumping on the bed and larger adults. Bear in mind that the weight of the mattress will also be added to the bed frame structure.
If you are prone to moving or shifting, then floating bed frames might not be a good choice for you. This is because these frames are hard to set up and heavy to move around easily. They are also difficult to move in and out of doorframes.
Alternatives to Floating Bed Frame
Bed frames are more about practicality, comfort, and support than anything else. While floating bed frames offer good support and comfort, they do have certain drawbacks that make them unsuitable for many people, especially the older segment and people with mobility issues. Some of the other more convenient bed frame options apart from the floating bed frame are as follows:
General Bed Frame
These are essentially non-adjustable structures that come in various heights, sizes, materials, and price ranges to satisfy your every preference. Most of the bed frames feature bed slats for better mattress support which are generally made of wood and metal, giving you optimal airflow and ventilation. These general bed frames are mostly tufted with foam and fabric for cushion and improved aesthetics.
Storage Bed Frame
A bed frame that has a compartment or drawers featured within it is known as a storage bed frame. The drawers are built under the mattress and sleeping platform. Just like general bed frames, storage bed frames also come in various sizes, materials, and price ranges. The drawers can either be pulled from the sides, or they can be accessed from under the mattress. This is an extremely convenient option for those requiring extra storage spaces.
Platform Bed Frame
Floating bed frames are a type of platform bed frame. The only difference is that floating beds have cleverly placed support in the middle that is hidden, and platform bed frames have visible support legs. They do not require any box spring and usually come with an attached headboard.
Box Spring Bed Frame
A box spring bed frame is not a bed frame. It is a support base for the mattress and is generally used with a general bed frame for added mattress support. However, you can also use it without a proper bed frame as just a supportive mattress base. Box spring is essentially a wooden frame with springs that are encased in fabric. It prolongs the mattress life through optimal weight distribution and is a good idea for those looking for low maintenance and cheaper options.
Is Floating Bed Frame For You?
Floating bed is a fun, versatile, inventive, and modern concept. It brings to the room a different aesthetic appeal that is both quirky and interesting. These bed frames are also a very practical solution for space savers. So, go ahead and give these frames a try. Chances are you will fall in love with the low clearance, modish look.
Floating Bed Frames FAQs
Are Floating Beds As Stable As Normal Beds?
Floating beds just give the illusion of being suspended in the air. They have a supporting base nearer to the center that gives them as much stability as traditional beds with legs on the sides.
What Is The Weight Capacity Of Floating Beds?
The weight capacity of a floating bed depends on the construction, durability, and material used in its design. On average, a queen-sized floating bed can carry anywhere up to 500 pounds. Some beds can even carry up to 800 pounds.
Are Floating Beds Comfortable And Supportive?
Floating beds are about as comfortable and supportive as normal beds. They only give the illusion of floating. The actual level of comfort and body support provided by the bed differs as per its specifications, construction, and quality.
SPLITS AND CRACKS IN WOOD
Splits and cracks in wood are ruptures or separations in the grain of the wood which reduce the quality as measured by appearance, strength, or utility. Many people assume that all splits and cracks in wood are caused by the dry kiln or the drying operations. Thus, these wood failures are assumed to be the responsibility (or fault) of the kiln operator. In fact, there are four categories or origins for splits and cracks in wood:
Changing Moisture Content Based
Proper identification regarding the cause of the splits and cracks is critical if the appropriate corrective action is to be taken to actually solve the problem. A wrong diagnosis insures a wrong course of action and thus, a continuation of the problem.
RESOURCE BASED SPLITS AND CRACKS
These are ruptures in the wood that occur in the standing tree or in the log. They are usually the result of various factors such as site or environmental conditions, growth stresses, or the activities of various microorganisms. The names applied to these various splits and cracks vary widely. In some cases, the same name may be applied to different defects, while in other situations, the same defect may have many different names.
One of the more typical ruptures of this type is called ring shake (also known as cup shake or wind shake). Ring shake is a longitudinal separation of wood fibers in the tangential direction, that is, the rupture runs parallel to the growth rings. Figures 1 and 2 are wood components exhibiting ring shake. Ring shakes can be so fine that they are not visible in green logs or lumber. They may only become visible after drying. The occurrence of ring shake in the standing tree has been related to numerous factors depending upon the species and conditions. Some of the major factors are as follows:
Bacteria - Wetwood - Microorganisms
Site and Environmental Conditions
Wood Structure and Chemical Composition
For some species, conditions such as large, overmatured timber; excessive crook or sweep; or poor site conditions are important factors regarding the formation of ring shake. In other species, it may associated with wounds, injuries, or disease.
still other species such as oaks, it may be related to the action of microorganisms especially bacteria.
The important point is that ring shake is a wood quality condition not a drying defect. The split or crack did not originate in the dry kiln or the drying process. Instead, it originated in the standing tree. It is also important to note that shake may not be easily detected in green logs and lumber. It may only become apparent after drying.
PROCESSING BASED SPLITS AND CRACKS
Processing based splits and cracks are those that arise from the conversion of rough, green lumber into finished products. The two major areas of processing based wood failures are (1) drying related damage and (2) machining related damage.
Machining Related Damage
The major splitting or rupturing of the wood that happens during machining is called loosened grain. It usually occurs in moulders and planers, but may also happen in other machines that use rotating knives. It is more likely to occur on the pith side of flatsawn lumber or wood components than on the bark side of the material.
Loosened grain is an actual separation of the wood along the growth ring on the surface of the wood. It has a shelling appearance. This rupturing is the result of the denser latewood part of the growth ring being pounded or pushed into the softer earlywood underneath. The earlywood is crushed and ruptured. A slight decrease in surface moisture after machining will aggravate the defect. Loosened grain can occur in softwoods and ring porous hardwoods .
Loosened grain is caused by the pounding action of dull knives, knives with too small a clearance angle, or excessively jointed knives. Excessive pressure by certain machine parts such as feed rolls, pressure bar, or chip breaker can also cause this cracking in the wood. As mentioned above, a slight decrease in surface moisture after machining will cause the damage to be more apparent.
It is important to note that loosened grain, like ring shake, is a rupture in the tangential direction (parallel to the growth ring).
Drying Related Damage
The types of splits and cracks that occur during lumber drying fall into three major categories:
End Checks or Splits
Internal Checking or Honeycomb
What sets apart the splits and cracks caused by drying from either shake or loosened grain is the fact that drying ruptures occur in the radial direction
In all drying defects (surface checks, internal checking, and end checking) the rupture will extend across one or more growth rings. In shake and loosened grain, the ruptures extend parallel to the growth ring.
CHANGING MOISTURE CONTENT BASED SPLITS AND CRACKS
Splits and cracks in wood that occur due to changing moisture content (MC) can be grouped into three classes:
Environment Drier than the MC to which the Lumber Was Dried Environment Wetter than the MC to which the Lumber Was Dried
Environment means the conditions to which the wood was exposed (1) in the processing plant, (2) in all storage areas, (3) during shipment, or (4) in final use of finished products.
The classic end splits in edged glued panels. This occurs when the equilibrium moisture content (EMC) of the environment to which the panels were exposed was lower (drier) than the moisture content of the wood in the panels. When this happens, the wood starts to lose moisture. Since water moves through the end grain much faster than through the sides and faces, the ends begin drying quickly and try to shrink. The ends are restrained from shrinking by the rest of the panel, thus tension stresses are set up in the ends. If the stresses exceed the strength of the wood or the glue lines, a split will occur. If the glue lines are very good and the wood is of light to moderate density, the split will occur in the wood. If the glue lines are only marginal in strength and the wood is heavy and dense, the split will usually occur in the glueline. In any case, the splits will occur in the weakest spots at the ends of the panel. Splits like these are similar to the splits and cracks that occur in drying, however, they are caused by an imbalance between the MC of the wood and the EMC of the environment. If the EMC of the environment is about two percent lower that the MC of the wood, the potential for this problem exists. This condition is somewhat species dependent, as some woods are more forgiving than others. However, the risk of end splits in panels occurs when the difference between the EMC of the environment and the MC of the wood exceeds two percent. The greater the difference, the greater the risk.
USE BASED SPLITS AND CRACKS
Split and cracks that occur in use usually result from one of two major reasons:
Mechanical Damage (during handling, transporting, erecting, or installing)
Many times, panels or other wood products are dropped, banged, or in other ways damaged during their handling, transporting, or installing. These damages, many times, look like splits or cracks in the grain of the wood. a split in a door due to dropping and other rough handling. Often, the splits and cracks that result from mechanical damage will run at various angles to the growth rings or they will rupture the grain in a more jagged or ragged manner.
In some cases, a wood product is designed and installed in such a manner that it is restrained from the normal shrinking and swelling that accompanies changes in relative humidity. When this happens, the panel or product will develop splits or cracks for much the same reasons that they occur in edge-glued panels. However, in the case of restrained panels, the splits are usually much more severe.
All splits and cracks in wood are not the result of the drying process or the dry kiln. It is important to properly examine and analyze the split and crack to see what was the actual cause. One important rule to remember is that splits and cracks caused by drying extend across one or more growth rings (radial direction). Many other ruptures extend parallel to the growth ring or, as in the case of mechanical damage, run at various angles to the grain and growth rings.
Furniture and cabinetmakers often apply a very thin layer of hardwood (veneer) over a less- expensive base material. On occasion, the glue bonding the veneer to the substrate can fail, causing it to delaminate at the edge or bubble (blister) in the interior; or the veneer can be damaged enough to require a patch. You can usually make these repairs yourself. Purchase wood veneer at craft stores and through woodworking mail-order catalogs. (We recommend that you have a particularly valuable piece repaired by an experienced professional.) Here are the basics for repairing damaged veneers.
- Very thin, sharp blade
- Block of wood and weight
- Flat metal ruler or other straightedge
- Thin paper (tracing paper)
- Hair dryer or household iron
- # 2 lead pencil
- Brown paper bags or Kraft paper
- Matching veneer
- Veneer roller or wallpaper seam roller
- Cutting board
- Matte knife or very sharp wood chisel
- 120- and 220-grit sandpaper
- Artist's palette knife
- C clamps
- Yellow carpenter's glue
- Stain and finish with appropriate applicators and solvents
- Wax paper
- Artist's paintbrush and oil paints (optional)
- Tip: This project requires that you make very sharp cuts into veneer, but even the sharpest matte knife or single-edge razor can damage it. For best results use a scalpel (available by special order from pharmacies) or a double-edge razor blade, which is thinner and sharper than a single-edge razor. To stiffen the blade and cover the unused edge, sandwich and glue the blade between two small, thin pieces of wood or wrap all but one edge of the blade with numerous layers of tape.
To Fix a Veneer Blister or Bubble
- Try to Reactivate the Glue: If the furniture is old, the glue may be reactivated with heat. To do this, use a very sharp, thin blade to cut a straight slit through the veneer in the direction of the grain from one edge of the bubble to the other. Then heat the surface with a hairdryer, or place several layers of brown Kraft paper (paper bags) over the area and use a household iron. When the glue is softened, immediately roll the area with a veneer roller or wallpaper seam roller.
Tip: To avoid overheating and softening nearby well-adhered areas, heat a little at a time and press-and-release the veneer to test whether the glue has become tacky.
- Reglue the Veneer: If the heat doesn't work (and it won't on modern glues), use a very sharp, thin blade to slit an elongated X through the veneer as much in line with the grain as possible. Then scrape as much old glue as possible off the substrate and the back of the veneer using a
matte knife or very sharp wood chisel. Use an artist's pallet knife or similar tool to apply yellow wood glue between the veneer and the substrate. Roll the surface with a veneer roller or a wallpaper seam roller. Wipe off excess glue with a damp cloth. Cover the area with wax paper, a block of wood, and a heavyweight for at least one hour.
- Tip: These same two steps can be used to rebond veneer that has delaminated at an edge, except that it is not necessary to slit the veneer.
To Patch Damaged Veneer
- Cut out the Damaged Veneer: Use a matte knife (with a brand-new blade) guided by a metal ruler to make an elongated diamond-shaped cutout in the veneer around the damaged area. The patch will blend with the grain and figure of the wood better if you avoid making cuts across the grain, so cut so that the long points of the diamond are in line with the direction of the grain.
- Remove Veneer and Old Glue: Remove the veneer inside the scored diamond using a matte knife and/or a very sharp wood chisel, beveled side facing down. Scrape off all the old glue to the bare wood.
- Trace the Patch: Lay a piece of tracing paper over the cutout and lightly rub the perimeter with the side of a soft pencil. Tape a piece of matching wood veneer to a cutting board and tape the tracing paper over the veneer.
- Tip: Compare and match as closely as possible the wood grain and figure of the area to be patched with that of the veneer patch.
- Cut the Patch: Use a very sharp, thin blade (such as a matte knife) guided by a metal ruler to simultaneously cut through the paper and replacement veneer. Test the fit and, if necessary, carefully reduce the edges by sanding with the grain against fine sandpaper on a hard, flat surface. Be very careful. The veneer will be delicate, especially at the points.
- Install the Patch: Brush a thin coat of yellow wood glue on both the surface of the substrate and the backside of the veneer patch. Press the veneer in place with a roller and cover it with a piece of wax paper. Lay a block of wood over the wax paper and apply a C clamp or a heavyweight for about an hour.
- Sand and Finish: Sand the patch until it is perfectly level with the surrounding area and apply stain and finish to match the existing surface.
- Tip: To make the patch even less evident, use an artist's brush and oil paints or permanent markers to extend grain lines from
the surrounding area into the patch (or vice versa) before applying a finish.
Old Furniture Masters
The old furniture masters all used the thinly sliced wood to add natural beauty to their already fantastically crafted furniture. You probably would never find a Duncan Phyfe cabinet or table that wasn't veneered. Duncan Phyfe preferred to work with Mahogony. He would make a furniture piece out of solid Mahogony, then veneer it with Mahogony. He preferred the rich beauty and natural art that isn't available in solid wood. Many other well-known furniture makers did the same thing, making furniture from a particular type of wood, then veneered with the same type.
Lots of other furniture makers used whatever kind of wood was locally available to hold down cost, then veneered for the prettier appearance. It's impossible to find the delicate swirls, sprays, and rays in solid wood that you will find in veneer.
A table that has a top with a repeat design or a design with a mirror image beside it is without a doubt veneer. The mirror image is from slicing wood thinly then opening it like a book.
The thin wood overlay is fragile in its natural state because it's generally only 1/64 inch thick, but when it's properly glued to another surface it becomes a part of that surface and has considerable strength. You have to be careful when sanding because it is so thin you can sand right through it, but it doesn't take much sanding to smooth it, because it is sliced with an extremely sharp knife.
Lumber manufacturers have taken pity on us and have made a product that is so easy to use that even the die-hard furniture purists use it.
Veneering used to be only for the master craftsman and the stout of heart, but now modern technology has made it simple for even the timidest. They've glued a thin sheet of paper to the back to keep the thin wood from being unruly, making it possible to cut very evenly so that edges may be joined easily, then they put some very sticky glue on the paper and a protective sheet over the glue, so all you do is pull the protective sheet loose along an edge for a short distance, position the edge and carefully press it to hold it in place and remove the rest of the protective sheet.
Working from the center toward the outer edges with a roller or blade press the veneer tightly to the surface, then finish as you would any wood.
Repair Damaged Veneer
Problem: Many antiques are covered in a layer of wood called a veneer, but the beauty and value of these antiques can be reduced by damage to the wood veneer.
Solution: Damaged areas can sometimes be repaired, restoring the beauty and value of the furniture.
Cut out the damaged area with a utility knife.
- Gently cut out the damaged veneer along the natural grain as much as possible.
- Try to form a simple shape to replace, such as a triangle.
Make a template of the damaged area.
- Make a template of this shape by placing a piece of paper over the area and rubbing lightly with a pencil until the outline is visible on the paper. (figure B)
- Cut out the template (figure C) to match the damaged area as closely as possible. Put the triangle piece in place to confirm match then trim as necessary. (figure D)
Make a replacement piece of veneer.
- Transfer this shape to a new piece of veneer and cut it out.
- Try to find a piece of veneer with the same grain and texture.
- Sheets of veneer are available from woodworkers' catalogs or specialty stores.
Install the new piece of veneer.
- Swab a little glue onto the damaged area and onto the back of the new veneer.
- Press the new veneer into place.
- Roll the edge of the piece with a seam roller to press into place. (figure E)
- Gently clean off the excess glue with a damp rag.
- If possible, clamp it in place or weigh it down, using a piece of wax paper between the veneer and the clamp to prevent sticking. (figure F)
- If the new veneer happens to be thicker, gently sand it down later.
Procedure for Repairing Buckling or Warped Pieces of Veneer
- Cut or slit the warped area with a utility knife.
- Apply a small amount of glue to a knife blade and work underneath the veneer.
- Press the veneer down, and clean off the excess with a damp rag.
- If possible, clamp into place or weigh down while the glue dries.
- Again, use a piece of wax paper between the veneer and the clamp.
The beauty value of antiques and can be reduced by damage to the wood veneer.
While the above repairs can work on small areas, larger areas or areas with more extensive damage are best repaired by professionals.
Another description of repairing veneer
There is no easy way to go about this. Find a quiet and comfortable desk with very good light. Secure your veneer, a cutting surface (breadboard, cardboard, etc.), x-acto knife (I like the little disposable knives with the “breakoff” blades), metal straightedge, reading glasses, and a high-intensity light. Use your old wood as a pattern for large pieces. Study your new veneer carefully and choose sections that closely match the grain pattern, colour and direction of the old piece. Cut the new veneer carefully with fresh razor blades making multiple light passes until it separates. Cutting slightly oversized pieces is preferable as it allows for slight misalignment errors when gluing. Trimming of excess material is easily done once the glue has dried. Make damn sure you are satisfied with your new veneer pieces after you cut them. Place them over the old wood, step back, and critically evaluate how well they are aligned. If you are not happy, cut another. Once you glue these down, you are committed, so now is the time to make sure you like what you see.
Finding the right glue was a concern. Eventually, I decided to go with contact cement (alternative veneer glues are listed in the “materials” section above). The label directions seemed reassuring, and the other recommended glues were simply not to be found.
Contact cement is thinly applied to both the substrate wood and the veneer with a cheap disposable brush. Be mindful that the application and curing should be done at a moderate ambient temperature. Don’t let your wood sit out in your cold garage before you begin. Both pieces must be absolutely clean and free of dust. After waiting about 10 minutes, the glue is slightly tacky and has a glazed appearance. Don’t be fooled: When these two pieces meet up, they will stick like gangbusters. Next comes the moment of truth. You get one and only one shot at this: carefully align the veneer over the backing wood and when you are sure everything lines up properly, join the pieces. Lay a piece or two of writing paper over the veneer and then, using a small, hard rubber (or plastic) roller and lots of force, roll the veneer in several directions to assure good bonding. Then lay the piece on a flat surface and cover again with a sheet or two of writing paper and a magazine or book and finally, apply evenly distributed weights overnight (I used concrete blocks and water jugs). After the glue has thoroughly dried, remove the weights and admire the result. Next, trim away any excess veneer around the edges and then sand the edges to get a nice smooth and continuous appearance. You needn’t sand the new veneer surface unless you find small imperfections. Just give it a quick once-over with the 1500-grade sandpaper and the Scotchbrite.
If the new veneer is a good overall match to the shade of the older pieces, do not stain it. If however you must darken it a bit, do so carefully! Apply a good walnut shade, water-based stain very lightly with cheesecloth or better yet, a terrycloth wiping pad. Remember that a little goes a long way and it’s best to “sneak up on the correct colour” with multiple light applications of stain. Practice on a test piece and don’t soak the application pad. Be sure to quickly (seconds, not minutes!) wipe of the excess. Do the whole piece at once to get an even application. Continue the process as needed to get a match. Never use a pre-stain wood conditioner! These are supposed to tighten the grain but they also seem to have the ability to attack the glue. (I had a large bubble form under the veneer after applying the conditioner and I very nearly had to start over. Quick work with my handy rubber roller and some weights saved the day.) After staining, you will have to buff the piece lightly with 600 and/or1500- grade sandpaper to knock down the raised grain.
My biggest veneer challenge was in replacing the horizontal surface at the top/center of my dash around the ashtray cavity. This section was missing altogether and although flat, required some complex cutting and was not easy to match to the surrounding wood. Nor did it easily lend itself to the roller and weights necessary to assure a good bond, but eventually,
ingenuity won out. I did cut this piece slightly oversized and I was pleased at how easily I was able to trim and sand it (after the glue dried) to match the contours of the adjoining wood.
Minor repairs to veneer are tricky. They require that you cut small, irregularly shaped pieces of veneer in an iterative fashion until they match the scar you are trying to disguise. Always pick a piece of veneer with the appropriate colour and pattern first. I found that I had to grip the patch with tweezers as I carved it to size and that I had to start over on more than one occasion. Once pleased with the veneer patch, it can be glued, rolled, and lightly sanded to conform to the surrounding veneer. Sometimes a bit of wood filler is necessary to fill small voids. Where colour match is a bit off, you may find it necessary to apply some stain with an artist’s brush or q-tip. If so, apply the stain then wipe off quickly lest you over-darken the work. Continue this process until a good match is achieved. I am told that experienced restores are adept at recreating veneer patterns with paints applied with an artist’s brush. This seemed beyond my skills, so I did not attempt it.
In some pieces, I left deep imperfections, as fixing them would risk the veneer or my sanity. Besides - they add a little romance! For example, I found a deep (through the veneer and into the hardwood below) burn mark on the passenger door jamb trim. It was impossible to completely remove. Rather than re-veneer the entire piece, I opted for cleaning it up as best as possible and letting the polyurethane blend and mute the scar. It’s still visible, but it’s not ugly. One might say that it adds a bit of character or romance.
Application of Polyurethane Finish
Surgical cleanliness was my watchword for the application of polyurethane. I chose my den as a dedicated room for brushwork. I kept the room warm; but hours before I was to apply the finish, I closed all doors and windows and kept the forced air system off to avoid stirring up dust that might settle onto wet surfaces. I NEVER sanded or cleaned my wood in the den, only while in the garage. To further avoid contamination, I frequently changed clothing before doing brushwork – especially after sanding. I only used the best, natural bristle brushes and thoroughly cleaned them in mineral spirits between coats and I often discarded them and used new brushes. Also, do not apply the coating to wood that has not been at room temperature for at least 8 hours.
As stated above, I chose clear, gloss, oil-based polyurethane for its durability, longevity, ease of maintenance, and ease of application. I also came to appreciate that it ultimately serves as a strong glue in that it assures no future de-lamination problems provided you apply some of it to the sides and back of the pieces.
Each coat was left to dry 24 hours in my warm "surgical room". Between coats, I sanded with 1500 sandpaper (600 if a blemish needed to be knocked down) and the Scotchbrite, then cleaned with a damp diaper. Don’t be alarmed or shy when sanding. It appears to irreparably scar the dried polyurethane, but you will find that the next coat “wets away” all traces of the sanding.
I bought my polyurethane in small 8-ounce cans. After the second or third coat, I threw out the first can (this stuff is cheap) as dried product was forming under the lid and I feared
contamination. Always apply the product under a good high-intensity lamp so that you can assure even application and detect missed spots, bubbles, etc. Never shake or stir the product. Using a new or thoroughly clean brush, apply the product in a light and even coat with your final strokes all going in the same direction. A light touch on the final pass should remove any small air bubbles that form on the surface. You will be relieved at how gravity will smooth out brush marks just moments after you finish brushing. After application, lay each piece flat (wet surface parallel to the ground to prevent running) on a clean sheet of newspaper. When each piece has received its coat, retire. Don’t try to go back and brush again a few minutes later as the product will already be setting up, and disturbing it in any way will mar the finish. Fix any blemishes in the next sanding cycle.
Apply as many coats as needed to achieve the look you want. I was satisfied after three or four, depending on the piece. Be patient. Always allow at least 24 hours between coats. If you wait only 4 hours or so, you will find that when you sand the surface, large sticky clumps will roll off the surface (as opposed to a powder) and you’ll have some extensive rework to do.
Wood is dynamic material. Some say that it is still “living” even after it is made into furniture. Unlike composite materials and stone, it is constantly adapting to its environment and actually changing weight, shape and size. For instance, a 42” wide table can change 3/8” of an inch in width over the course of a year as the relative humidity in a living space varies with the seasons. Sometimes one surface of a wooden component will receive a different exposure to seasonal changes than the other side and a slight warping or “cupping” might occur. “Cupping” and warping are minimized by engineering the furniture so that wide expanses of hardwood, such as table tops, are stabilized by other components that run across the width of the panel and limit the extent to which the wider panel can move. We also retard variation in moisture content with the application of moisture resistant Greenguard finishes. While engineering solutions can limit changes in shape they will never totally eliminate them and some movement is to be expected.
Some interesting facts about solid hardwood furniture and how moisture and humidity effect it:
The hardwoods we use to make furniture have been dried to 6% - 8% moisture content.
The equalized moisture content (EMC) of a typical living environment varies from a low of 4% to a high of 11%.
The range in environment humidity impacts the moisture content of everything in it. For example, when a 42” x 84” Axis Dining Table leaves our factory it weighs 120 lbs. 8 lbs, 6 ounces of that is water.
If exposed over a long enough term to the driest residential environment (heated air in a winter climate) it will lose about 3 1/2 lbs. of water. Exposed to a high humidity environment (un-air conditioned beach house) it will gain 3 1/2 lbs. It almost never reaches those extremes, because the driest and most humid seasons usually only last for several months and moisture resistant finished retards drying and uptake of moisture.
Think of the cellular structure of wood as bundles of long narrow tubes. As the moisture content of the cells is reduced the tube shrinks in width but not length. With this variation in moisture content, solid wood furniture shrinks, expands and moves. The movement is small and happens slowly and often time it is never noticed. For each 3% change in moisture content of finished wood the width of the wood will change 1% in its width. That means that if we make a table 42” wide out of lumber that is 8% moisture content, and it is left long enough in an environment with 11% EMC, it could expand by 3?8” in width. In extreme to the other, the change in width would be 3/4”.
What is good to know about wooden furniture :
Whatever the matter is – interior design or various materials for making furniture – the fashion for this, however, like everything else, changes over time. But wooden furniture is not subject to either time or fashion whims.
What is the reason for this? Of course, the reason for people’s loyal love for wood lies in its aesthetic appeal and flexibility in processing, which made it possible to use wood as a material for creating various kinds of furniture products. At the same time, being a material of natural origin, wood contributes to creating a pleasant atmosphere and good mood, perfectly fitting into the most diverse interiors.
But it is not possible to produce furniture from any kind of wood. This is due to the fact that each variety has its own mechanical (we are talking about flexibility, density, etc.) and energy characteristics.
Wood species vary in density. Varieties are overly hard, hard and soft. So, to the last, soft, it is customary to attribute fir, linden, alder, chestnut, pine, spruce, juniper, cedar, poplar, willow. These grades are the most malleable, however, furniture made from them is less durable than created from hard varieties. Excellent wear resistance is characteristic of birch, oak, ash, elm, beech, maple, birch – dense varieties of wood. Even greater processing difficulty arises with white acacia, boxwood, pistachio tree, hornbeam, however, furniture made from trees of these varieties is incredibly durable.
It is noteworthy that being a natural conditioner, the tree is able to renew and even purify the air inside the house and perfectly maintain the optimum humidity level.
From time immemorial, the effect of the healing qualities of a tree has been appreciated by all peoples and our ancestors. Wood was used to create charms and amulets, which, according to the opinion of the time, had magical properties – they contributed to giving strength and relieving fatigue. This attitude to the tree is due to its ability to influence the aura of people, their energy. In terms of energy metabolism, it is believed that pine, oak, apple, ash, birch, cedar gives energy inherent, but aspen, alder, poplar and bird cherry, on the contrary, take away. All remaining breeds are considered neutral.
The energetic forces of the breed can influence a person, providing a healing effect. “Solve the problem” of relieving stress and increasing tone is subject to birch, can help in the treatment of ailments associated with the nervous system, can pine, help concentrate and increase activity – oak, to overcome bad habits and cleanse the body will help the apple tree, and cedar can be used as a magnificent disinfectant the drug.
It is generally accepted that furniture made from varieties of wood that takes energy is not suitable for homes – it can be dangerous both in terms of energy metabolism and in terms of harming human health.
The color of wooden furniture is worth choosing, taking into account individual preferences and the design of the entire room. However, you need to know that light furniture can make the interior lighter and warmer. It will look good in the interior of the bedroom and the nursery. Mahogany furniture, the color of which is exciting, awakens to action, is appropriate in the office, as an option – in the hallway. Featuring a noble and stylish look, dark furniture fits perfectly into the living room.
Concluding, it is worth touching on the issue of competent care of furniture made of wood. To remove dust and other contaminants from the surface, both varnished and polished, it is recommended to use only a flannel cloth, and from carved elements – a vacuum cleaner or a very soft brush. Application of special compositions based on beeswax will help to maintain furniture in good condition. This will provide reliable surface protection against various contaminants. The application of this composition should be carried out approximately once every six months, but at least.